ACRI, Bimkom: First Principled Petition on Demolitions in Jerusalem

Petitioners demand the court order the Jerusalem municipality to suspend its illegal policy of house demolitions in East Jerusalem until an adequate planning process is in place

Attorney Nasrat Dakwar of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition on Tuesday, November 10 on behalf of Ghasam Abidat, the Jabal al-Mukabar neighborhood PTA chairman, ACRI, and Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights demanding that the court order the Jerusalem Municipality and other authorized bodies to initiate an appropriate planning process to meet the needs of the Jabal al-Mukabar neighborhood within three years. The petitioners requested that – until such a planning process has been completed – administrative demolition orders issued against buildings in the neighborhood be suspended, no new orders be issued, and no new indictments on construction without a permit be filed.

Since 1967, East Jerusalem neighborhoods — particularly Jabal al-Mukabar and Arab al-Sawahra — have been seriously discriminated against in terms of their urban planning: no comprehensive outline plan was ever made for East Jerusalem. Furthermore, despite the fact that the Palestinian population of the area has quadrupled since 1967, land that was annexed by Israel at that time has not been allocated for the construction of apartments for this population. During the same period, some 40,000 housing units were built in East Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods. Even the updated blueprint plan of “Jerusalem 2000” still severely restricts the Palestinian residents’ construction options.

Attorney Nasrat Dakwar of ACRI: “Harm done to the East Jerusalem residents on the construction planning issue impacts every aspect of their life. People can not procreate, infrastructures malfunction and there is a major shortage in public spaces. When you even glance at Jabal al-Mukabar and then compare it with the Jewish settlement of Nof Zion, which was built on its lands, you will immediately see the huge gap in the planning institutions’ attitude toward the Jewish and the Arab populations. The policy employed here is driving the Palestinians out of East Jerusalem and practically means ‘a silent transfer.'”

Architect Efrat Cohen-Bar of Bimkom: “The parties in charge of planning the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem have so far failed to perform their duties and have not prepared appropriate blueprints for them. At the same time, they keep demolishing houses as if this was their main duty. We had to ask the court to remind the planning authorities what their duties are.”

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Categories: East Jerusalem, Arab Citizens of Israel, Housing Rights, Impact of Settlements, Land Distribution and Planning Rights, Planning and Building Rights, Police and Security Guards, Social and Economic Rights, The Occupied Territories

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